INTERVIEW: CLMD (2013)
Norwegian duo Carl Louis and Marin Danielle, better known as CLMD, has been rising in popularity. Their original tracks (“Falling Like Angels,” “Black Eyes and Blue”), remixes (Norman Doray, Gus Gus, Max Vangeli), and white labels (“Turn the Music Up”) have been getting love and support from DJs around the world. A distribution deal for their Up North imprint through Sony gives them the freedom to release music when they want all over the world. Their recent release, the gorgeous and progressive “The Stockholm Syndrome,” is just a sign of what’s to come from the talented duo.
Ron Slomowicz: So Carl, where do you keep all your medals?
Carl Louis: Haha, in the fridge.
RS: You are the model, right?
Martin Danielle: Yeah, kind of.
RS: Weren’t you a big model on TV and print?
Martin Danielle: I have done a couple of prints, but haven’t been on TV.
RS: And you are married to a really gorgeous supermodel, aren’t you?
Martin Danielle: Well, technically we are only married on Facebook, but she is my girl and I love her to death and she is a supermodel!
RS: Congratulations. There was name change recently, you used to go by Carl Louis & Martin Danielle and now you go by CLMD, why did you change your name?
Martin Danielle: To help people remember our name, because Carl Louis & Martin Danielle is a pretty long name and we felt that people would forget it. We tried to figure out a new name but nothing really felt right, so we just decided to use our initials CL and MD.
Carl Louis: We had the sense that people knew and liked our tracks but did not know the artist. For example we had a track called “The Message” that Axwell picked up and played for like a year, everyone knew the track but didn’t know it was us because it was so hard to get the whole Carl Louis & Martin Danielle name.
RS: Was there any change in your sound with the name change?
Martin Danielle: Not immediately but now we are building a new path for ourselves with our music and have gotten into a more distinct way of what we want to do. Our music has had a natural progression and you always want to reinvent yourself, but we really know what kind of music we want to do now and have a lot of stuff going on.
Carl Louis: I would also say that under CLMD we feel a little bit freer. Our Eye Emma Jedi “Sin” remix is a really mellow track that you couldn’t play in the club, but it is still very much us. I don’t think that we could have done a track like that under Carl Louis & Martin Danielle; we feel that it is more of a CLMD track. In some ways we have opened our horizons a little bit with the name change.
RS: How would you describe your sound from where it was and where it is going now?
Martin Danielle: I guess it is going a bit more deep and groovy and not as hands up. We focus on emotional energy, so that you get hooked on the theme of the song and that theme creates the energy of the track- not the buildup and the drop itself.
Carl Louis: Our biggest influence has always been Axwell, but he hasn’t put out an original release since 2011 and, therefore, we have gone out to seek more inspiration. The Eric Prydz album that dropped last year was amazing and gave us a deeper view of what house music can be, and how it can bring you on a journey rather than just a break and drop.
RS: You guys are Norwegian and you were taking about Swedish guys, are there any Norwegian acts that you collaborate with or are inspired by as well?
Martin Danielle: Yes, Royksopp, which is an electronic act has been an inspiration for us. They have had some good success internationally, so it shows us that it is possible if you just believe and stick to your guns.
Carl Louis: We have done a lot of collaborating when it comes to vocalists, we find a lot of undiscovered vocalists and most of our tracks have actually been with them. For example, our next single, “The Stockholm Syndrome,” is with a 19 year-old girl from Trondheim who has an amazing voice but she hasn’t had any official releases and so this will be her first release.
RS: You just moved to East Village, how has that change inspired a change to what you are doing?
Martin Danielle: It has really changed; life here is very different than in Norway in terms of being able to meet a lot of people that can help our career. There is much more of a scene in New York than there is for us in Norway and it makes New York inspirational.
RS: Right now you are signed to Sony, correct?
Carl Louis: Well we started our own label Up North last year, and after a month or so we were contacted by Sony and we got a distribution deal with them, so they have distribution rights.
RS: Is there an artist album in the works through Sony, what is the plan?
Carl Louis: The plan is to continue with Up North and as long as Sony wants to collaborate with us, we feel that they are a good match.
Martin Danielle: It is good for us because we have the freedom to release tracks when we want to and when we feel that the tracks are fresh. For instance, we finished our new track “The Stockholm Syndrome” two weeks ago and we wanted to release it right away, and the Up North licensing deal with Sony gave us the freedom to do that, so it’s really great.
RS: How did you get involved with the Arty project, I really love the “Together We Are” mix.
Martin Danielle: Thank you, he really liked our previous release “Falling Like Angels” and played it on some of his radio shows, and from there he contacted us and asked if we would remix it together with our track.
RS: Who was the singer on “Falling Like Angels?”
Carl Louis: It is a funny story because we made that track almost a year before we released it; we were looking for vocalists and tried so many different people. Our agency in London hooked us up with a songwriter that wanted to try out, he was only going to write the lyrics, but when we heard the demo we loved his voice. His name is ATB and he ended up doing the track.
RS: I also like the way that you can take one line of vocals and build a whole track around it like you did with Coldplay. What about the line “I’m Coming Home With You” inspired you to build a whole track about it?
Martin Danielle: That’s what is fun with music, you can take short phrases and use them kind of like an instrument and not just a vocal line, so that it becomes a part of the whole track.
Carl Louis: I think it was also just playing around and having fun. House music started with sampling, sampling is really good and fun.
RS: You work with a wide variety of vocalists like Katherine Ellis, when you work with them do you build the track first and then have them write to it? What is the normal collaboration procedure?
Martin Danielle: Normally, we create the track and consider what kind of vocalists we want that can communicate what we want with the track. We find the vocalist and then send the track over and they do a demo and we go back and forth until we have something that we are really satisfied with.
Carl Louis: We really aren’t songwriters when it comes to lyrics, so we let the vocalists take care of that, but we do give pointers in the direction of what kind of emotion that we want the song to portray. We work together in that sense, but other than that we let the vocalist have the opportunity to be free with the lyrics.
Martin Danielle: It’s more personal that way, it has to be relatable to the person who is singing it for it to be true and sound heartfelt.
RS: In the studio what software are you using?
Martin Danielle: We use Logic Pro 8
RS: What was the deal with the cow and the Nervo girls yesterday that everyone was going crazy about?
Martin Danielle: I guess they came over to our hotel and there was a cow in the foyer that they wanted to ride.
RS: The picture has been everywhere. What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Carl Louis: Keep being our fans! Thank you for supporting us so far and we will do our best to deliver good, quality music that you will like.
Interview conducted during Winter Music Conference 2013.